Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

States can force 'able-bodied' to work for Medicaid, rules Trump administration

States can force 'able-bodied' to work for Medicaid, rules Trump administration

Those ten states, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin, all have Republican executives. The vast majority of those who aren't working have an illness or disability, are caring for a family member, or are in school.

A survey Kaiser conducted previous year said those who weren't working said it was because of an illness or disability, home or family responsibilities, pursuit of an education, retirement or inability to find a job. "There is a real risk of eligible people losing coverage due to their inability to navigate this process or miscommunication or other breakdowns in the administrative process", Musumeci said.

Unlike the 1996 rewrite of welfare law, which explicitly mentions work as a goal, Medicaid's law contains no such element, and critics contend rules that could deny people coverage contradict its objectives.

A University of MI team recently published data in JAMA Internal Medicine from detailed survey of more than 4,000 MI residents enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program.

The idea of conditioning government benefits on "work activities" was cemented into welfare more than two decades ago, when a system of unlimited cash assistance was replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families with its work requirements and time limits.

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The agency's guidance provides states with a lot of flexibility in designing their programs and highlights that many recipients may need additional considerations.

"As an example in the TANF program, the cash assistance program, there is authorization to include work limits and work requirements, and there is no such requirement in the Medicaid law", said Berg.

"This action by the Trump administration goes after people who are just trying to get by", Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of OR said. "And so the net effect of this policy isn't going to be to get more people to get jobs, it is for more people not to have health care, they are going to get sicker and have less ability to get jobs".

Advocates for low-income people expressed dismay.

"This new attack on Medicaid has nothing to do with program integrity, and everything to do with the recently revealed step-by-step Trump administration plot to wage war on our health care". "Health care should be a right, not a privilege".

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"Access to Medicaid makes it easier for people to look for work and obtain employment", Wikle said.

"So I think you take those recommendations, embed it in, put it back on the Governor's desk and let him explain to taxpayers why people who are capable of working are not working", said Rep. Seth Grove, (R) - York County. Don't be fooled. It's the first of several expected steps to shrink and weaken the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion that provided coverage for 11 million low-income adults, with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population", Seema Verma, the head of CMS, said in a statement.

The Obama administration opposed the demands by the states.

Republican state Sen. Bill Coley defended Ohio's work requirement, saying people who are able bodied and not students should get a job so they can support themselves. Pregnant women will also be exempt.

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Other groups criticizing the Trump administration's plans included Public Citizen, Families USA and the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society.

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